4Culture News

How Poetry Hit the Road: A history of Poetry on Buses, 4Culture’s most popular and populist public art program

Poetry on Buses (Writing Home), 2014. King County, WA. Photo: Tim Aguero

There’s a good chance you’ve experienced it yourself: you’re riding a King County Metro bus as it makes its way through the city, looking out the window, watching your fellow passengers, when your gaze turns toward the rows of familiar advertisements flanking the bus’s interior. Amid the various promotions and PSAs, you spot something a little…different. A poem. A few lines of verse inviting you to linger for a moment as you soak in its meaning.

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Celebrating Juneteenth 2023

Moses Sun. 21 Chambers Illuminated: Carnival Of Black Joy, 2020, Digital and analog mixed media painting on paper, 19” x 13"

Monday, June 19 is Juneteenth, the holiday commemorating the emancipation of enslaved African Americans in the United States on June 19, 1865. Black communities have celebrated Juneteenth as a day of food, parades, and family activities long before it finally became a federal holiday last year. At 4Culture, we celebrate this holiday as an expression of our mission, vision, and values. As we work continuously to examine and eliminate race-based inequities in our work, Juneteenth gives us an opportunity to uplift Black history and culture in an authentic way.

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A Special Collection Recognizes Sustained Excellence

George Tsutakawa (1910-1997). Sandworm, 1986. Stainless steel. King County Administration Building, Seattle, WA. King County Public Art Collection. Photo: joefreemanjunior.com

Artworks by some of our region’s most renowned artists give meaning and character to public spaces all around the county. George Tsutakawa’s Sandworm, an undulating steel sculpture inspired by a burrowing marine animal, anchors the 5th Avenue entrance to the King County Administration Building. An abstract painting by William Ivey—once a student of Mark Rothko—exudes shades of blue in a district courtroom. The Palace of Darius by Mary Henry conveys feeling through meticulously distilled forms at the Maleng Regional Justice Center. Inside the Dexter Horton Building, the complex honeycomb of Cris Bruch’s Mantle appears to glow.

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32nd Annual SHPO Awards Honor Dr. Dorothy Laigo Cordova and FANHS

Dr. Dorothy Laigo Cordova, Founder/Executive Director of the Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS), with FANHS friends after Dorothy received the Washington SHPO Award for Outstanding Lifetime Achievement, May 2023. Photo courtesy of Emily P. Lawsin.

May is Preservation Month and Asian American and Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month! In celebration of both, we’re thrilled to highlight news that the Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (DAHP) has honored 4Culture grant recipient Dr. Dorothy Laigo Cordova with the 2023 SHPO Award for Outstanding Lifetime Achievement.

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Laura Da’ Selected as Poet Planner

We are thrilled to announce that Laura Da’ has been selected as the next Poet Planner for the 2023-2025 4Culture poetry program. Laura will work with 4Culture, King County Metro, and communities across King County to shine a light on diverse poetic traditions and empower people of all ages to write poems—whether they consider themselves to be a poet or are writing a poem for the first time.

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50 Years: Exploring the ever-growing King County Public Art Collection

Jacob Lawrence (1917–2000). Games, 1979. Vitreous enamel on steel. 108 x 216 inches. Seattle Convention Center, Seattle, WA. King County Public Art Collection. Photo: joefreemanjunior.com

Earthworks and oil paintings. Bronzes and mosaic murals. Artist-designed bridges and transit experiences. Today the King County Public Art Collection contains nearly 2,500 works of art in a vast array of forms and materials. Whether made by an emerging artist or an established expert, each of these works has a story. How was it created? What inspired it? What does it say about our cultural history?

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Introducing Our 2023-2024 Gallery 4Culture Artists

After a pause in programming, Gallery 4Culture launched its first call for artists since January 2020 to continue a 43-year history of exhibiting innovative, underrepresented artists and art forms in solo and small-group shows. Panelists Amelia Ketzel, Francisco Guerrero, Ashraf Hasham, and Tyna Ontko reviewed applications submitted through the process and selected 10 King County-based artists for the 2023-2024 season.

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Honoring Maria Frank Abrams

Maria and her cousin Vera Frank crossing the Atlantic, January 1948. Photo courtesy of the artist’s estate.

Maria Frank Abrams (1924-2013) came to Seattle in 1948 as a survivor of the Holocaust, then built an illustrious career as one of the most celebrated artists in the region. Her body of work includes paintings, works on paper, public art, set and costume design, and mosaics, reflecting influences from the University of Washington’s School of Art where she earned her Bachelor of Fine Art summa cum laude in 1951. Later she also earned her Master of Library Science.

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Goodbye Josh!

How well do you know Josh Heim?
Last month the 4Culture staff said goodbye to Joshua Heim, who started a new and exciting chapter as Executive Director at the Western Arts Alliance, a membership association supporting performing arts throughout the Western states.

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Indigenous Peoples’ Day Spotlight: Denise Emerson

Denise Emerson. People of the River, 2016. Seed beads, bone, shell, and suede. 8 x 8 x 1/8 inches. King County Public Art Collection. Photo: Mel Carter

In 2021, Joe Biden became the first U.S. president to officially recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day, proclaiming that “For generations, Federal policies systematically sought to assimilate and displace Native people and eradicate Native cultures. Today, we recognize Indigenous peoples’ resilience and strength as well as the immeasurable positive impact that they have made on every aspect of American society.” 1

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